State must make grants available to everyone

Your article "Grant age move", published in Sowetan on June 19 refers.

Your article "Grant age move", published in Sowetan on June 19 refers.

I welcome the ANC's decision to debate extending child- support grants to nearly 3million children aged 14 to 18 who live in poverty. This issue will be on the table at their upcoming policy conference.

But as director of an organisation that works to make human rights real for all South Africans, I would urge them to go further and scrap the means test.

About 72percent of children are eligible for the grant. Surely the enormous cost of a means test just to exclude the 28percent who might not need it, makes no fiscal sense?

While I welcome Public Works Minister Thoko Didiza saying the ANC will debate equalising the retirement age and benefits for men and women, she made no mention of how it intends realising the right to dignity of 17million people who cannot find jobs. People need more than free water and electricity to live.

The Expanded Public Works Programme has only reached 5percent of unemployed people in three years and these jobs are all temporary. Do we really expect these people to wait until they are 60 or 65 before they get any support?

A recent study showed that in households receiving grants, people were more active work seekers, children better nourished and attended school more regularly. Surely this would benefit us all?

Marcella Naidoo, Black Sash, Cape Town